Character questions: Defensive players

As the Vikings prepare to add rookie draft picks over the next three days, some of the defensive players linked to them (some of which visited Winter Park) had questions to answer about incidents and arrests in their past. Here are some of the prospects with character questions on the defensive side of the ball.

The Vikings have invested a lot of time and resources into investigating the background of first-round draft prospect Manti Te'o, but general manager Rick Spielman made a point Tuesday to say that spending time with a candidate doesn't always mean intense draft interest.

Take everything said by general managers and scouts at this time of year with a dose of skepticism, but the broader points are that all prospects the Vikings are interested in get investigated to some degree and many of them have bigger issues than allegedly being the target of an Internet hoax. In fact, the Notre Dame linebacker's character issues pale in comparison to some of the other red flags raised by other linebackers.

We've had a lot of discussion on a lot of guys in this draft that may have off-field issues or has had off-the-field issues. But we've spent a tremendous amount of time going to these players, out to visit with them individually, having our experts in those areas visit with them individualy, whether they were here at our facility or we went out there," Spielman said. "And guys that had issues, I can tell you there were a lot of them that we've been with three or four times with this spring. I'm not going to tell you what decisions we made on those players, but I feel comfortable enough to say that we would definitely feel comfortable with that player or we're not."

Here are some of the question marks from the past of prospects that could be of interest to the Vikings:

LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Ogletree's issues started before his Bulldogs career even officially began. The day before his Georgia debut, he was arrested on misdemeanor theft charges and suspended for the opening game after he allegedly stole a motor-scooter helmet on campus.

But Ogletree's biggest troubles didn't start until last year. He was suspended from the team for a violation of team rules in 2012, reportedly for failing drug tests.

Then in February 2013, just days before the NFL Scouting Combine, Ogletree was cited for DUI after being pulled over for a lane violation in Arizona.

LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Brown was one of the athletes at the University of Miami implicated for receiving improper benefits from booster Nevin Shapiro. According to an extensive report on, Brown received dinner, drinks, and paid stays in a hotel as part of the scandal that rocked the Hurricanes football program.

Brown transferred to Kansas State and doesn't have any other reported incidents since then.

LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon
Alonso was suspended for the 2010 season after he was arrested for DUI in February 2010.

In May 2011, Alonso was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass, according to The Oregonian. He and Ogletree were both part of the "top 30" visits earlier this month that the Vikings hosted.

CB Sanders Commings, Georgia
In January 2012, Commings was arrested and charged with domestic violence and simple battery after police responded to a confrontation between Commings and his girlfriend in the early-morning hours in downtown Athens, Ga. He was suspended from the team for two games.

CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
In October 2011, Mathieu was suspended from the team for one game for allegedly violating the team's drug policy.

In August 2012, LSU announced that Mathieu was dismissed from the team for "violation of team policy." He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the Bednarik Award winner, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and set the school record with 11 career forced fumbles. LSU head coach Les Miles characterized Mathieu as a "quality guy who had a behavior problem."

After considering transferring to a smaller college to play in 2012, Mathieu elected to remain a student at LSU last year, but in October he was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, the Baton Rouge police department announced. Police said they found a marijuana grinder, a digital scale and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana in Mathieu's apartment.

CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
In May 2012, Corvallis (Ore.) police arrested Poyer after an accusation of second degree trespassing at a nightclub near the Oregon State campus. Poyer had previously been banned from the nightclub, Impulse, but used a secondary entrance to get in.

P Brad Wing, LSU
The Vikings apparently worked out Wing earlier this month, according to Wing's Twitter account. The Vikings signed another punter, T.J. Conley, this offseason as well, likely either looking for potential options besides incumbent Chris Kluwe or to motivate Kluwe. But Wing was suspended from the Tigers' appearance in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and, according to the publication Tiger Rag, it was because of a failed drug test.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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